If the river forecasts prove themselves correct, places like Henderson are fairly safe but, lower parts of the parish like Stephensville and Morgan City in St. Mary Parish could see some flooding.
The Mississippi River is expected to reach up to 44 feet near Baton Rouge by mid January. Henderson Mayor, Sherbin Collette, says the amount of water headed down south, raises concerns.
“It’s very unusual to have high water at this time of the year. Our floodwaters usually come in the spring time when you get the snowmelt up north” says Collette. Instead, the rain covering the northern region of the country will eventually make it’s way here, which means a more consistent flow of water into the Mississippi.
Collette says parish officials have a plan in place in case of flooding. “I’m waiting for a call from the Parish President, Guy Cormier and sheriff Ronnie Theriot. We get together with all of the municipalities that come to the meeting and get on the same page.”
Although the spillways haven’t been opened since 2011, Mayor Collette believes it’s our best option. “If you open the Morganza Spillway and let the water pass gradually, you’re going to preserve a lot of animals being drowned that could drown in the basin.”
Collette says the opening of the spillways would also be beneficial for the levees that ultimately save lives, homes and property. “If we open the Morganza and the Bonnet Carré it will relieve the pressure against the levee system.”
The Corps of Engineers is planning to meet on January 8th in Butte LaRose to discuss opening the spillways.